Rome wasn’t built in a day.
And your brand definitely won’t be either. The fact of the matter is a strong brand is composed of hundreds of elements, and each one requires thoughtful attention during the building stage to ensure a multi-dimensional image is constructed that will properly resonate with your desired target audience.
Building a brand in 7 important steps
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or just looking to go over the basics of brand building, this article will walk you through the most important elements your brand should possess to guarantee its competitiveness and longevity in the market.
7 steps to build a brand
- Create a cohesive brand identity
- Perfect your brand strategy
- Position your brand for success
- Declare your greater purpose
- Build an incredible style guide
- Stay top-of-mind
- Garner equity
Create a cohesive brand identity
First things first, you must create the basic brand elements that will make up your identity. These are the most obvious visual elements that your customers will associate your brand with. If done correctly, you will have set your brand apart from its competitors and establish possession with certain elements that will without a doubt be associated with your brand.
There are eight elements that you should focus on when getting started. They are your brand’s name, logo, color, slogan, image, shape, graphics, and typography. Allow these elements to paint a picture to your customers. This is what they will think of when your brand comes to mind, so be sure that they embody everything that you wish your brand to be.
Perfect your brand strategy
This is where it gets interesting. At this stage, you should be thinking about the deeper meaning of your brand, and the way you want to portray it to your target market. This goes a lot further than the visual elements your brand encompasses, so start thinking about ‘who’ your brand is. If it were a human, what does it stand for? What is its purpose? This is the complexity that must be established to ensure you are creating a meaningful brand that your future customers will connect with.
There are eight important elements that every brand should have in its brand strategy. Start with purpose, experience, personality, consistency, emotion, loyalty, values, and employee activism. You may find that there are other dimensions that need to be created to ensure you are getting the proper message across, but the ones mentioned here are a fantastic starting point.
With these elements established, you will have created a blueprint that guides the way your brand is communicated with the world and outlined the exact way it will respond to specific situations that will be encountered in the future.
Position your brand for success
It’s now time to home in on your brand strategy and put the specifics into writing. Creating a positioning statement is the best way to guarantee that your employees know exactly what the company stands for, as well as properly aligning all business efforts to ensure cohesiveness.
This statement should answer three main questions: Who are your customers? What do you provide them that your competition can’t? Why should they believe what you’re saying? Take inspiration from other company's brand positioning statement examples and follow this template to get started.
Brand positioning statement template:
[Your brand] provides [your offering/benefit that makes you better than competitors] for [your customers] who [customer needs] because [the reason why your customers should believe you are better than competitors].
Declare your greater purpose
A mission statement is similar to a positioning statement and it’s equally important to spend enough time on it. Your mission statement is a public facing declaration of your company’s purpose to the people it serves. The complexity goes beyond that, however, because the goal is to prove purpose to not only your customers but your employees and even the community you serve.
This statement establishes the bigger picture, so it's important to touch on your core values and culture when creating it. Your mission statement is essentially answering the greater ‘why’ of your business. It resolves why you are doing what you’re doing in the first place. To get started, take a look at the three questions below and decide how you want to answer them.
Know your value
It’s one thing to know your purpose, but do you know your value? What is the value you bring to your customers’ lives? By creating a value proposition, you declare a promise to your customers that you will provide value to them if they choose you over the other brands. With all the competition on the market today, your customers should know exactly what they will get from your products and services to ensure they are of value to them.
Creating a value proposition is not easy, but it’s a crucial element that every brand must have to stay competitive and retain customers. To help you with the task, you should utilize the value proposition canvas. The canvas was created to break down the complex value proposition framework to ensure you are able to decipher your consumer profiles and the exact value you bring to them.
Build an incredible style guide
You have created your strategy composed of all of the important brand identity elements we just covered, but now the more difficult task arises. How do you keep everything consistent? Consistency is the key to a successful brand. Without it, your customers will be confused and likely have no reason to stay loyal and continue purchasing from you. This issue is solved easily with a brand style guide. A style guide ensures that every element you worked hard coming up with (colors, logo, personality, and more) are all accurately depicted no matter who is creating collateral for your brand. A style guide is essentially the source of truth for your brand’s visual and non-visual elements.
Let the style guide examples from some of the best brands on the market inspire the creation of yours! Not only will you have created practical guidelines to use for the years to come, but you will also have an impressively designed compilation to show off as well.
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Building brand awareness is a never-ending mission for every single company, and for good reason. Consumers will continue to have increasingly high standards, and the market is more competitive than ever in today’s day and age. Higher competition means that consumers have likely seen the same marketing tactics from every brand over and over again. Push your brand and aim to stand out against your competitors by trying new ways to invoke top of mind awareness. It only takes a handful of evangelists to get the masses on board, so make sure you’re speaking to those people. It will be completely worth it in the long run when you’ve built a fiercely loyal group of supporting customers!
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Just like brand awareness, building up your brand equity is a perpetual task that takes time and patience. When there are hundreds of other bands competing for the same customers in your product category, then you have to figure out the best ways to stand out and be chosen first. It’s not an easy task, but if you have enough brand awareness with your target audience you’re halfway there.
If you want customers to believe that your brand has greater value over all the others, then you will have to focus on a few key strategies. If you have quality products, listen to your customers, constantly watch what your competitors are doing, and continuously perfect your brand strategy, then you’re on the fast track to building the right equity your brand needs. You should also be taking notes from the most equitable companies on the market to ensure continued success.
Build your brand up
Building your brand from the ground up takes a great deal of time and should never be rushed. Slow and steady wins the race in this case because a first-time brand introduction is a huge deal! Once it’s out there for the public to consume, you will find it very difficult to backtrack if you realize you have better ideas and ways you would have done something differently.
With proper planning and the understanding of the most important elements, you will be ready to take on the brand building endeavor for yourself! You should feel confident accomplishing this process, but if you are looking for even more guidance, take some advice from the experts that have already been successful at it. They will provide you with the best tips, tricks, and advice on how to create a brand!
Use these tactics to guide you through the brand building process. It’s important to keep in mind that the basics will only get you so far. To stay on your A-game after you've accomplished and perfected this list, check out the best branding agencies to help you with everything else that comes next!